Emily Blunt, an actor, and advocate, hosted the American Institute for Stuttering’s 17th Annual Gala last night in New York City, raising funds to support AIS’s mission of providing free or low-cost therapy to underserved people who stutter.
Dr. Philip O. Ozuah, President and CEO of Montefiore Einstein, was honored for his leadership of the organization’s 13 member hospitals and 7.5 million patient encounters per year.
The moving evening featured remarks from Executive Director Dr. Heather Grossman, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCS-F, Board Chair and Chair of Debevoise & Plimpton’s insurance regulatory practice, Eric Dinallo, and 11-year-old Ailyn Wood, who spoke about her struggles with stuttering and learning to navigate life and elementary school with the assistance of AIS.
Guests in attendance included New York Giants’ Joshua Ezeudu and TikTok influencer and actor Marc Winski, as well as America’s Got Talent semi-finalist, Amanda Mammana, who performed two original songs to an audience of AIS board members, staff members, clients, philanthropists, and friends.
“Stuttering has touched our lives in some way. This genetic and neurologic condition might affect us, our child, or another relative, a friend, or even a work colleague. Though no one’s experiences are ever the same, we all share one thing in common; it is a hard and often painful road to learn how to live with and manage your speech. And for those who surround us, it’s often difficult to know just what to do and how to support a person who stutters,” said Emily Blunt. “AIS works with families to understand how to help. And, they offer groups for peer cohorts so that common experiences can be shared and learned from. For over half of its clients, AIS’s services are free, or at a very reduced price, because it believes that no one should have to bear the burden of stuttering alone. Everyone deserves a chance to speak freely, and to have their voices heard.”
AIS is a leading nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to provide universally affordable, cutting-edge speech therapy to people of all ages who stutter, as well as guidance to their families and much-needed clinical training for speech professionals who want to gain expertise in stuttering.